Tesco fires new shot in store wars fight

IAN CLARKE Tesco has fired the latest shot in the battle for supermarket domination in Dereham by outlining detailed plans for a multi-million pound expansion which would create 150 more jobs.

IAN CLARKE

Tesco has fired the latest shot in the battle for supermarket domination in Dereham by outlining detailed plans for a multi-million pound expansion which would create 150 more jobs.

The company wants to increase its total floor space by more than a third to 103,000 sqft and take the overall staff numbers to 533.

Tesco revealed earlier this year it wanted to expand the store to make it one of the biggest in the region and has now submitted a detailed planning application to Breckland Council.

The full file is several inches thick and includes a raft of reports about traffic impact, the predicted impact on the town centre, landscaping, flood risks and predicted growth of supermarket spending in the area.

The report gives a fascinating insight into the current battle between Tesco and Morrisons to win over shoppers in the area - and latest figures show Tesco store has a £33.4m annual turnover, whereas Morrisons' is £35.3m.

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It is anticipated that if Tesco is allowed to grow, its annual turnover would rise by more than £9m.

The supermarket giant will have to get approval from planners before it can go ahead with the scheme and faced opposition from councillors, some residents and traders when the expansion ideas were first floated.

This year's annual town meeting heard claims that it "could destroy the heart of the town centre".

But in its application Tesco - which first opened the shop in 1994 - insists "there is a need for an extension to the Dereham store" and says there has been a lot of support for its plans.

The application said: "Dereham has a vibrant and stable town centre which is performing adequately" and "would not be adversely affected".

The plans include an extra 105 car parking spaces, the possibility of a wind turbine to power the store and a new café on a mezzanine level.

The full planning file can be viewed at Breckland Council's offices at Elizabeth House.